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Angelman syndrome (AS), an early-onset neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormal gait, intellectual disabilities, and seizures, occurs when the maternal allele of the UBE3A gene is disrupted, since the paternal allele is silenced in neurons by the UBE3A antisense (UBE3A-AS) transcript. Given the importance of early treatment, we hypothesized that prenatal delivery of an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) would downregulate the murine Ube3a-AS, resulting in increased UBE3A protein and functional rescue. Using a mouse model with a Ube3a-YFP allele that reports on-target ASO activity, we found that in utero, intracranial (IC) injection of the ASO resulted in dose-dependent activation of paternal Ube3a, with broad biodistribution. Accordingly, in utero injection of the ASO in a mouse model of AS also resulted in successful restoration of UBE3A and phenotypic improvements in treated mice on the accelerating rotarod and fear conditioning. Strikingly, even intra-amniotic (IA) injection resulted in systemic biodistribution and high levels of UBE3A reactivation throughout the brain. These findings offer a novel strategy for early treatment of AS using an ASO, with two potential routes of administration in the prenatal window. Beyond AS, successful delivery of a therapeutic ASO into neurons has implications for a clinically feasible prenatal treatment for numerous neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Ther

Publication Date



Angelman syndrome, antisense oligonucleotides, neurodevelopment, prenatal gene therapy